Houthis kill imam, 9 worshippers for following Saudi Eid al-Fitr moon sighting

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An imam and nine worshippers were killed following Houthi militia attacks on a number of mosques for celebrating Eid al-Fitr on Tuesday, after Saudi Arabia announced the sighting of the Shawwal crescent, Yemen’s information minister Moammar al-Eryani and local media reported.

According to al-Eryani, the militias stormed mosques during Eid prayer in Houthi-controlled areas, including Sanaa and Dhamar.

“The Houthi militia prevented the majority of honorable citizens in their areas of control from celebrating Eid al-Fitr and stormed a number of mosques and arrested citizens in Sanaa, Dhamar, Hajjah, and Ibb who refused to comply with its decision to postpone the celebration,” al-Eryani tweeted on Tuesday night.

Local media reports stated that the imam and worshippers were shot dead at a mosque in the Qiva district in al-Bayda, after they refused to stop their Eid prayers on Tuesday when ordered to do so by Houthi militiamen.

Sanaa residents also reported that the Houthi-controlled Religious Endowments and Guidance offices instructed religious guides and militiamen to monitor other “violating” mosques.

Yemenis on Monday were deeply divided over when the first day of Eid would be, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.

In the southern port city of Aden, the legitimate Yemeni government declared that Tuesday would be the first day of Eid, while the Houthi militias, who control the capital Sanaa and other northern Yemeni provinces, declared that Wednesday, June 5 would be the first day of Eid.

This is the first time the country was divided over the moon sighting marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, despite years of deadly conflict between Yemen’s government and the Houthis.

Local activists said the Houthis wanted to challenge the Yemeni government, supported by Saudi Arabia, by announcing that Eid would commence one day later.

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